The Reaping (1 star)

(15) 96min


What the hell is Hilary Swank playing at? This glossy, but in all other ways substandard supernatural chiller is the kind of by-the-numbers chick horror flick that Sandra Bullock churns out periodically, not what you’d expect a two-time Oscar winning actress to put her name to.

Swank plays Katherine Winter, an emotionally traumatised ex-missionary who has turned her back on god and embraced a career in academia, debunking paranormal phenomena. But when a small-town schoolteacher (David Morrissey) from the Deep South Bible belt asks Winter to look into what appears to be a blight of Biblical plagues being visited upon his community, she finds both her new secular outlook and her old religious beliefs challenged.

What follows is a lot of hokum involving rivers of blood and rainstorms of frogs, a possibly demonic child and a god-fearing local lynch mob. At no time do the proceedings make much in the way of sense, nor are the characters well rendered enough to elicit sympathy, But then director Stephen Hopkins cuts so swiftly to the action there’s little time - or motivation - to work out what’s going on.

General release from Fri 20 Apr.

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